So do we teach ourselves to read, or did we evolve the ability to read? This intriguing question recently received a new look courtesy of some French neurologists:
More than a century ago, a French neurologist suggested that a specific region of the brain processes the visual images of words. Without it, he postulated, people cannot read except by laboriously recognizing letter after letter, rather than whole words. Yet humans have only been able to read for several thousand years--perhaps not enough time for such a trait to evolve, some scientists have argued. New research, however, supports the idea that reading does rely on a localized set of neurons.